Vertebral giant cell tumour of bone in a domestic shorthair cat

Publication date 11th April 2023
Authors Jordina Caldero Carrete, Joana Tabanez, Alexander Civello, Clare Rusbridge

Clinical relevance

This is the first reported case of a giant cell tumour of bone in the vertebra of a cat. We present the imaging findings, surgical treatment, histopathology, immunohistochemistry and outcome of this rare neoplasm.


A 10-year-old male neutered domestic shorthair cat was presented with a 5-month history of progressive non-ambulatory paraparesis. Initial vertebral column radiographs revealed an L2–L3 expansile osteolytic lesion. Spinal MRI showed a well-demarcated, compressive expansile extradural mass lesion affecting the caudal lamina, caudal articular processes and right pedicle of the second lumbar vertebra. The mass was hypointense/isointense on T2-weighted images, isointense on T1-weighted images and had mild homogeneous contrast enhancement after gadolinium administration. MRI of the remaining neuroaxis and CT of the neck, thorax and abdomen with ioversol contrast revealed no additional neoplastic foci. The lesion was removed by en bloc resection via a dorsal L2–L3 laminectomy, including the articular process joints and pedicles. Vertebral stabilisation was performed with titanium screws placed within L1, L2, L3 and L4 pedicles with polymethylmethacrylate cement embedding. Histopathology revealed an osteoproductive neoplasm composed of spindle and multinucleated giant cells without detectable cellular atypia or mitotic activity. On immunohistochemical evaluation, osterix, ionised calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 and vimentin labelling were observed. Based on the clinical and histological features, a giant cell tumour of bone was considered most likely. Follow-up at 3 and 24 weeks postoperatively demonstrated significant neurological improvement. Postoperative full-body CT at 6 months showed instability of the stabilisation construct but absence of local recurrence or metastasis.